Having spent most of our first day in Florence getting our bearings and climbing the Duomo, our second day started with a trip to Central Market.
I couldn’t come to Italy without buying at least one piece of cheese and was told that Central Market was the place for this. I was surprised by the lack of food shops outside of the market so if you’re wanting to stock up on goodies, this is the place to do it.
Upstairs is a food hall with a few of self service type restaurants selling pizza, fresh pasta and other typically Italian dishes. There was barely, if any, other tourists here which was a decider for me, we ordered two pizzas and gobbled them down in silence. A crunchy thin base and perfectly squidy topping!
After lunch we headed across the river to the Boboli gardens. Entrance is half price if you’re an 18-25 year old from the EU so remember to take some ID. The gardens are beautiful in the sun and the view of Florence isn’t bad either!
I’d read that if you visit the Basilica of Santa Miniato al Monte at around 5:30pm, you can hear the Monk’s gregorian chanting. There was a slight hiccup in our plan in that we’d underestimated the walk between the gardens and the church and were shocked when we were told it was a 40 minute walk at least. Determined not the miss the only chance we might get to hear the chanting, we paced it to the church, arriving 20 minutes later, a little out of breath.
The church itself is a popular attraction but it was clear that a few others had heard about the chanting with the pews filling up. There was a faint sound from the back of the church followed by a cross between singing and chanting. It’s well worth the climb up to the church to experience this, especially in the atmospheric surroundings of the church. After the chanting we stopped one last time to admire the fantastic view of Florence from outside the church.
The church was probably the quietist attraction we visited in Florence, perhaps due to the steep incline up to it. It seems that most tourists make it as far as the Piazzale Michelangelo and don’t go as far as the church. If you have the time, do both. I’d challenge you to find better view of Florence in a more perfect surrounding!